CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Nov. 2, 2001
UI Museum of Art will present two exhibitions that explore African /American
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will explore African
identity in the Americas in "African Inspirations: Sculpted Headwear
by Sonya Clark" and "African in America: An Installation by Olabayo
Olaniyi," on display at the museum Nov. 16 through Jan. 13, 2002.
The opening of the exhibitions will be celebrated at the museum at 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 16. Clark will lead a gallery tour of her exhibition, followed
by a musical performance by Olaniyi.
"African Inspirations" and "African In America" comprise
a two-part exhibition that investigates how art may be used to explore personal
identity. The exhibition presents two artists who borrow, reshape, and recombine
existing forms to create evocative works of art that express their complex
identities. Both Sonya Clark and Olabayo Olaniyi have, like many Americans,
roots in more than one culture.
Sonya Clark, a professor of textiles and design at the University of Wisconsin,
uses her sculpture to explore her personal history as an artist of Caribbean
and African descent. She creates hats and head adornments to express her personal
biography, drawing on her deep understanding of the important roles played
by hats and coiffures in African cultures.
Her work combines a wide range of media, from plant fibers and beads to pennies
and plastics. Several examples of African hats from the permanent collection
will be exhibited along with Clark's reinterpretations of the forms.
As a tandem to the Sonya Clark exhibition, sculptor Olabayo Olaniyi will
create an installation piece in an adjoining space. Olaniyi is a Nigerian
artist and musician and a former student at the University of Iowa who is
has taught at the University of Michigan. He draws upon the rich symbolic
and artistic traditions of his Yoruba background to create evocative sculpture
and installations. His work addresses issues of identity, particularly as
an African artist working within the U.S. art education system and art market.
For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/uima
on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at
The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open
noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 10 p.m. Thursday
and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking
lots west and north of the museum.